FAHAN

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

FAHAN, or FOCHAN (UPPER), a parish, in the barony of ENNISHOWEN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 7 miles (N. W.) from Londonderry, on the road to Buncrana; containing 3309 inhabitants. St. Columb founded here the Abbey of Fathenmura, also called Fochan Mor, or Fothenmor, which subsequently became richly endowed and for many centuries was held in great veneration: it contained many relics of antiquity, among which was the Book of the Acts of St. Columb, written by the Abbot St. Murus, or Muran, (to whom the great church was dedicated,) in Irish verse, some fragments of which still remain; also a very large and ancient chronicle, held in high repute.

The parish is bounded on the west by Lough Swilly, and comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 10,040 ¼ statute acres; some of the land is very rich and well cultivated. The mountains afford good pasturage; the Scalp rises, according to the above survey, 1589 feet above the level of the sea. Near Fahan Point are slate rocks, lying close upon the shores of the Lough, which have not yet been much worked: there is also an abundance of millstone grit, which is quarried for making and repairing the roads, and excellent freestone.

The principal seats are Glengollan, the residence of Charles Norman, Esq., proprietor of the greater part of the parish; Birdstown, of the Rev. P. B. Maxwell; Roseville, of Miss Schoales; Fahan House, of T. Kough, Esq.; and the Glebe-house, of the Rev. W. Hawkshaw. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £360. The glebe-house was erected by aid of a gift of £100, in 1822, from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe comprises 52 acres. The church is a large handsome edifice, built by aid of a loan of £1000, in 1820, from the same Board; it has a square tower with pinnacles.

In the R. C. divisions the parish is united to Desertegney and Lower Fahan, and has a large chapel, built in 1833. At Cashel is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Seceding Synod. The parochial school, in which are about 50 children, is aided by subscriptions; the school-house, a large and handsome building, was erected in 1828, by the Kildare-place Society. There are also two other public schools, one of which is aided by the Rev. P. B. Maxwell; and a national school is held at the R. C. chapel. About 220 children are taught in five private schools, and there are four Sunday schools. There are no remains of the abbey, but several valuable relics have been found, some of which are in the possession of the rector: the east window of the old church is nearly entire, affording an elegant specimen of the architecture of the 15th century. St. Murus's bed, or grave, and a holy well, are much resorted to by the peasantry.

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